WTF did I get myself into?
Posted November 1, 2010on:
Today is November 1st. If you’re online, then you know today marks the start of NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month, a month in which already-crazy writerly types attempt to pen an entire novel (50,000 words) in thirty days.
This is my first NANOWRIMO and I’m already frantic. I don’t know what made me sign up for this event when November is the month of my wedding anniversary, my birthday, my husband’s birthday and Thanksgiving. When will I have time to squeeze out fifty thousand words? Worse, when will I have time to read anything? I’m a devoted and fanatical reader, often finishing four or five books a week. It’s how I recharge my batteries when my own writing just won’t come. I don’t see myself getting to read much, if at all, during NANOWRIMO. Luckily, I read Bill Cameron’s LOST DOG Saturday. His delicious plot and outstanding characters have filled me with at least thirty days’ inspiration – and more, I hope.
When I put aside my Kindle, still engrossed in Bill’s world, I remembered something that renewed my hope. When I wrote BORDERLINES, I deleted more words than Nano’s fifty-thousand target. Can you imagine? I actually deleted over sixty thousand words from the finished manuscript. They were dull, lifeless and did nothing to further the plot along to the ending I’d envisioned so I slashed them. Well, actually, I moved them to an Outtakes file I keep. You never know when a bit of polish might restore the luster to a phrase you thought sucked. The same thing happened while I was writing SEND.
Okay, I thought. So I know I can write lots of trash. But today is November 1st and all I have is a vague idea of what PAST PERFECT should look like. For BORDER LINES and SEND, I had detailed outlines, character bios and timelines. Then, I found a link to Meet Me in the Middle. Forgive me, I can’t find this link, but someone tweeted about the Meet Me in the Middle plotting technique late last week.
- Number a page from 1 to 15.
- At line 1, write a line that describes how you want your story to start.
- Next, bounce to line 15 and write how it should end.
- Return to the top, at line 2, and write what happens after line 1, now that you know how the story should end.
- Bounce from top to bottom until you “meet in the middle” at around step 8, I think. I gave it a try and in about half an hour, I had a good idea of where my new story should go. (Please comment if you saw the link, too!)
I can write fifty thousand words in a month. Will I keep them? Probably not. But I figure somewhere between Chapter One and The End, there will be some pearls. Maybe even a diamond.
Happy writing, everyone.
UPDATED 11/3/10: Eureka! I found the link to the Meet in the Middle Plot Technique.